About asparagus and nature (Trani – Andria – Manfredonia)

-“And after, if you make… urina… ehm…”

-“It makes your piss smell in a funny way.”


Ah! I finally knew what they were talking about. Asparagus. They were pronouncing it funny and I didn’t know what they meant. Even when we were collecting the asparagus I didn’t recognize them. Yeah, I thought they looked like asparagus, but they were way smaller and they had a different color than the ones we have at home. I figured they were herbs that looked like asparagus and therefore called almost the same. But they are the same! Only these are found in the wild. These are the real ones. The ones we have at home are the cultivated fakes.

I’m learning so much about nature here.

Asparagus hunt

Looking for asparagus in the Murgia.

Before I went to Greece and Italy, I didn’t know what an olive tree looked like. You could call me ignorant for that. I don’t think I am, at least not in this case. We just don’t have them in Holland. Now I also know what peach trees look like. And the plant I thought was a cactus, is actually ficus-indica, a plant that gives fruits around autumn. And almonds grow on beautiful trees, but you have to peel them first, they are inside a fruit, they don’t grow on the trees like you find them in the stores. Fascinating!

Being outside in nature so much makes me feel really healthy. It also makes me feel dumb and kind of stupid. I know nothing about plants and trees and the people here do. Even the young ones. They show me which leaves and fruits I can eat. I even ate a flower! And it tasted OK.

Are we such an ignorant country? Or are we too civilized? Living in cities. Buying all our food at supermarkets. The only plants we see are the ones that make the lobby look nicer or the neatly planted figure trees in the park. Are there actually children that think those trees grow in the shape of a dog? Probably. Like the people that think milk is made in a factory. And the cows in Switzerland are purple.

Knowledge about nature is declining in our country. My own grandparents are farmers and they know everything. They look at the cows and they know what weather it will be. They know which berries won’t kill you. They know how to help a mother sheep with the birth of her lamb. I can only watch in amazement.

But things will be different now. At least for me. I now know what an olive tree looks like. I found asparagus in the wild. I ate a flower. Tomorrow I’ll go watch the cows and I’ll predict sunshine.


Preparing a risotto with our freshly obtained asparagus.

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